Emily Gokey, a first-grader at Elsmere Elementary, votes on an iPad during Bethlehem Central School District’s mock presidential election vote.
BETHLEHEM This year’s presidential election ended up being less competitive than many experts had predicted, but if things were decided by the Bethlehem Central School District, it would have been a landslide.
Days before adults across the nation cast their ballots, students at Bethlehem schools selected their pick and came to the same result. President Barack Obama received 2,868 votes, winning the Bethlehem Central School District 2012 Mock Election. Challenger Mitt Romney garnered 1,514 votes out of the 4,382 votes cast district-wide.
Obama also overwhelmingly won the national student mock vote, 460 electoral votes to 78.
The mock vote is conducted every presidential election year within the district and students are prepared by incorporating lessons on the candidates into social studies classes. The discussion level was modified depending on the grade of each student.
“It’s really important to have kids be knowledgeable about what is happening in the world,” said Eagle Elementary teacher Laurel Jones, who coordinated the district’s mock vote. “This is also an opportunity for all kindergarten-to-12th-grade students to participate in the same activity.”
Educators added the mock vote allows families to have a common topic to talk about around the dinner table, providing the opportunity for an inclusive, multigenerational discussion.
“I commend our students for taking part in the mock presidential election,” said Superintendent Thomas Douglas. “Teaching about this process and this civic duty not only imparts knowledge to our students, but helps build the character needed for them to develop into robust individuals.”
Students in the middle and high schools voted the week before the national election via a survey application on an iPad. Elementary school students cast their votes closer to Election Day, with two schools using paper ballots and the rest using the tablet program.
Jones said after the middle and high school vote was tallied the candidates were within 10 votes of one another, but the elementary students overwhelmingly favored the president.